Bruins 'made their own breaks' in grinding Florida win

Bruins 'made their own breaks' in grinding Florida win

BOSTON – A game like Saturday afternoon serves as Exhibit A that the Bruins are enjoying some much more fortuitous bounces in their favor these days. 

Boston enjoyed a couple of breaks in their direction that led to goals and helped guide them to a 5-2 win over the Florida Panthers on Saturday afternoon at TD Garden, and both played big roles in the regulation victory for the Black and Gold. 

The first good luck moment was a Patrice Bergeron rebound goal that snapped a 1-1 tie in the second period, and put the B’s in the driver’s seat as the recently eliminated Florida tried to hang with the Bruins in the middle of the game. The play itself was a nice pull-back play by David Pastrnak on the wing, who fed Zdeno Chara for a point shot that Bergeron banged home the rebound on as Brad Marchand screened in front.

The Panthers challenged that Marchand interfered with Florida goalie Reto Berra at the time of Bergeron’s rebound bid, but replays showed that the B’s left winger didn’t come into contact with the Florida goalie until after the puck was already by him. Unfortunately the Bruins have seen those challenges go against them even when the evidence seems very much in their favor, and this is one of the few times a challenge has worked out for them. 

So that was one thing that went their way, and the B’s game-winning goal was the other one in the second period. 

Berra tried to play a puck behind the Florida net and rushed to beat a speeding David Pastrnak as he flipped the puck blindly off the boards. The banked pass off the sideboards went straight to an attacking David Krejci anticipating the play, and he fired the puck into the open net before Berra could scramble back into the crease.

The Krejci score held up as the game-winner, and Bruce Cassidy believed that the Bruins made their own breaks in the needed win. 

“Maybe we were due one in this particular game. You make your own breaks, I find. We heard a few of our players saying that on the bench and we’ve often said that. Even the Bergy [Patrice Bergeron] goal, we were sitting there, a lot of times that goal does not go our way, gets reviewed and it goes the other way,” said Cassidy. “So we could almost look at that as, um, we got some breaks [vs. the Panthers] but I think we made our own breaks by – on that particular goal – getting to the net, getting a second chance and then with Krejci’s just good hustle. 

"So good for them…whatever it takes. I think we’re going to score some nice goals, we have, we’ve got high end skilled players but sometimes you’ve got to get some hustle ones too, and we got a few of those tonight.”

The bottom line for the B’s is that they’d much rather benefit from some of those breaks at this time of the hockey season even if things hadn’t gone that way three or four months ago. 

Bruins resiliency on full display in third-period comeback vs Stars

AP Photo

Bruins resiliency on full display in third-period comeback vs Stars

GOLD STAR: Every once in a while Brad Marchand wills the Bruins to a win that they probably wouldn’t have otherwise had, and that happened again on Friday night with a three-point explosion for No. 63 in the final 20 minutes. Marchand finished with a goal and three points in 19:57 of ice time along with a plus-2 rating, and played a key role in the three-goal outburst that allowed the B’s to vanquish a 2-0 deficit. It was Marchand that opted not to shoot from the face-off dot with a look at the net in the closing seconds, and instead dropped it down low to David Pastrnak as he curled around the net and pushed a puck past Kari Lehtonen for the game-winner. Marchand finished with two shots on net, eight total shot attempts and a number of big plays in the third period redirecting pucks in close, kicking off shorthanded scoring plays and then setting up clutch game-winners in the final 15 seconds of the game. It’s the kind of night where Marchand played like an MVP even if he isn’t going to get much of a sniff at the Hart Trophy. 

BLACK EYE: Jamie Benn scored a shorthanded goal for the Dallas Stars, but he also jumped up in the air and clobbered Brad Marchand from behind with a completely unnecessary hit in the third period that went without a penalty being called. Instead it seemed to incense Marchand, who never gave up in the final sequence and ultimately fed a pass to David Pastrnak down low for the game-winner with just 11.1 seconds remaining in the game. Benn finished a minus-2 for Dallas while being on the ice for a pair of goals against, had a brutal 1-for-7 performance in the face-off dot and really acted like a punk on the play with Marchand in the third period. Benn is a better player than that and shouldn’t be resorting that level on a fellow star player like Marchand. 

TURNING POINT: Once again the Bruins really turned things around in the third period while outscoring the Stars by a 3-0 margin, and really flooding the Dallas net with 10 of their 36 shots on net for the night. It all started with a relentless shift from Boston’s top line where Riley Nash made a pass from his knees before taking a big hit, and then Brad Marchand redirected a David Pastrnak shot from the slot off his leg and into the net for Boston’s first goal. That first score finally allowed the Bruins to begin building some momentum, score each of the next two goals as the game slipped away from Dallas and once again proved themselves as a hockey club that one doesn’t ever doubt in the third period. 

HONORABLE MENTION: Tuukka Rask had a career-high 40 saves and turned away some really good looks from the Dallas offense while showing exactly what the Bruins can be capable of when their goaltending is on point. The only goals that beat Rask were a first period score with droves of traffic in front of the net, and a second period shorthanded score for Jamie Benn where he pulled one of those unconventional finishing moves on Rask at the very end. Rask made 11 saves on the Dallas power play alone during a trio of PP chances, and made a crucial leg pad save on Antoine Roussel in the third period that helped open things up for the goal-scoring outburst late in the game. Hopefully the strong, resounding performance from Rask answers some of the questions about some of his recent so-so performances between the pipes.   

BY THE NUMBERS: 29 – the number of goals this season for David Pastrnak as he readies to become only the ninth Bruins player to hit the 30-goal plateau in back-to-back seasons over the last 35 years of franchise history. 

QUOTE TO NOTE: “Resiliency. We didn’t want to go quietly for sure. We can live with the end result as long as we play the right way. The end result went our way again in the end, and I think that’s a credit to the guys.” –Bruce Cassidy to NESN about another comeback win for the Black and Gold.

Pastrnak scores with 12 seconds left to lift Bruins over Stars, 3-2

AP Photo

Pastrnak scores with 12 seconds left to lift Bruins over Stars, 3-2

DALLAS - David Pastrnak broke a tie with 12 seconds left and the Boston Bruins scored three straight goals in the third period to rally past the fading Dallas Stars 3-2 on Friday night.

A scramble followed a faceoff in the Dallas end, and Brad Marchand passed to Pastrnak in front. While falling down, he put the puck past Stars goalie Kari Lehtonen.

TALKING POINTS: B's resiliency on full display vs Stars

Tuukka Rask made a season-high 40 saves for the Bruins. Marchand scored Boston's first goal and also assisted on a short-handed goal by Tim Schaller that tied it midway through the third period.

The second-place Bruins won for the first time in three games (1-0-2) to move within four points of Atlantic Division leader Tampa Bay. Boston has already clinched a playoff berth.

The Stars are winless in their last seven games (0-5-2). They remained four points behind Colorado for the second Western Conference wild card.

Dallas led 2-0 on a first-period goal by Esa Lindell and Jamie Benn's short-handed score late in the second.

In the third, Marchand tipped in a shot by Pastrnak before Schaller scored on a 2-on-1 with Marchand.

Lehtonen finished with 33 saves.

Lindell scored 2:26 into the game. Jason Dickinson tried to deflect a shot from the right point into the net but the puck went wide right. Curtis McKenzie picked it up behind the goal line and passed to Lindell high in the left faceoff circle. His wrist shot went in off Rask's right arm.

Benn missed two good scoring opportunities early in the second period, but connected at 19:22. He took a pass from Tyler Seguin at the Dallas blue line and had a breakaway when Matt Grzelcyk fell down. Benn slid a backhand under Rask.